(Updated 3:21 p.m.) Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon said her plan to cut middle class taxes and business taxes will save Connecticut $8.5 billion.

The proposal released at a woodworking company in Newington Wednesday calls for lowering middle class taxes and eliminating capital gain taxes for that segment of the population. It also calls for reducing the federal corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. 

The proposal was put together with the help of John Dunham and Associates and it gave the former wrestling executive a chance to tout her business background.

“What’s missing in this debate is the business perspective. The voice of a job creator,” McMahon said. “I know what it takes to create jobs.”

The plan does not call for cutting the tax rates of the wealthiest residents. McMahon said that’s because the plan wouldn’t have worked if she had done that.

“We just wanted to be sure that we had a plan that was going to work, that would be reasonable, that would put money in the pockets of the families in Connecticut,” McMahon said. “I’m a really practical common sense person.”

She said if she had cut the upper income earners’ taxes the spending cuts would not have happened as fast. The analysis by John Dunham and Associates claims the plan would have a positive budgetary impact of $1.7 trillion dollars between 2013 and 2021. It says the reduction in business taxes will result in $7.2 billion in additional wages for Connecticut workers.

In order to pay for the tax cuts her plan also reduces spending by 1 percent each year, but that does not include defense spending. While Connecticut’s economy relies on the government’s defense spending, entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security make up about 40 percent of the federal budget.

In 2010 when McMahon was running against U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal she refused to talk about entitlement programs on the campaign trail.

Similarly, on Wednesday McMahon had little to say about entitlements.

“Clearly we’re going to have to address entitlements because we know they‘re not sustainable” McMahon said. “But at this particular point my focus and emphasis today is to talk about jobs and my plan to spur the economy.”

She said she’s afraid the government is getting “perilously close” to impacting the ability of America’s military to do its job. And while there’s always areas in government spending where fat can be cut—she doesn’t believe the next two Virginia class submarines fall into that category.

Former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, McMahon’s chief opponent in the race for the Republican nomination, called her plan “irresponsible.”

“Mrs. McMahon outlined a number of positions Christopher Shays has been advocating for the last 6 months, many of which he proposed and voted for when he was in Congress,” Amanda Bergen, Shays’ communications director, said. “There are areas where he has disagreements. For example, she does nothing to simplify the tax code. And rather than helping to get our financial house in order, McMahon’s proposal makes our annual trillion dollar deficits even worse by proposing huge tax cuts with no spending offsets.  This is irresponsible and politics as usual.”

Wednesday’s press conference marks her first in the 2012 race for the Republican nomination. This time there were no questions about the minimum wage.

During her last press conference in 2010, McMahon was asked about the minimum wage and whether she believes it should be reduced. She didn’t rule out reducing the minimum wage before abruptly ending a Q&A with reporters. Her campaign alleged the reporters took her comments out of context, but audio and video recordings of the exchange allowed readers to judge for themselves.

The Blunt Amendment and the Contraception Debate

The Obama administration’s birth control rule that will require employers to provide contraceptive coverage with no out-of-pocket costs as part of their health plans for workers outraged the Catholic Church and many Republicans. President Barack Obama later altered the rule so that women who work for churches and religious organizations could receive coverage for the contraception from their insurance companies and not their employers.

McMahon said that whole issue seemed to be focused on contraception when she believes it was really an issue about the First Amendment.

“Government was trying to tell those of a particular religious persuasion how they needed to think and behave,” McMahon said. “I believe in separation of church and state and I believe that overreach by the government.”

The crowd gathered applauded at her answer.

Asked if she would have supported Sen. Roy Blunt’s amendment which would have allowed any employer, even those not affiliated with a religious organization, to opt out of the coverage requirement, McMahon said she probably would have.

“I wouldn’t have raced to do it, but I probably would have supported it,“ McMahon said.

McMahon said World Wrestling Entertainment covered contraception as part of its health care program.